Without a doubt the greatest rivalry in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers have exchanged a handful of players with the Boston Celtics.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been an NBA cornerstone for countless decades now. In their many years of dominance, they’ve created a number of rivals around the NBA, both in the Western and the Eastern Conference.
No rivalry, though, exceeds the level of the one against the Boston Celtics. These two teams have been battling it out since the ’50s and are on a neck-to-neck race when it comes to NBA Championships.
The Celtics are leading the NBA with a total of 17 championships won, with the Lakers trailing them by just one, at 16. Perhaps the biggest reason behind that is Bill Russell‘s dominance in the ’60s that earned them 11 championships in a total of 13 years.
On the contrary, the Lakers have spread out their championships much more evenly across their history and have never gone more than their active streak–10 years– without an NBA Finals appearance. The Celtics once went 21 years without a trip to the finals.
Due to them being competitors, these two teams have always hesitated to make roster moves with one another. In fact, a trade has occurred just three times between these franchises.
Many players have stuck true to their heritage and hesitated playing for their rival at a future point in their career. Take Paul Pierce for example. He bleeds green, ultimately insisting on joining the LA Clippers.
Regardless of that, the rivalry hasn’t prevented every player from joining the opposing team. At the end of the day, these guys just want what’s best for their respective careers. If the other team can give them that, no rivalry issue will stand in their way.
As a Lakers-Celtics rematch in the 2020 NBA Finals appears more and more likely, here are the ten players that have worn both their yellow and their green suits to work at least once.
Honorable mentions for coaches:
- K.C. Jones (Lakers assistant coach / Celtics player, head coach and assistant coach)
- Frank Vogel (Lakers head coach / Celtics assistant coach)
- Ty Lue (Lakers player / Celtics assistant coach)